By Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez, Tom Napolitano
This week, Justice League steps away from the wil, universe altering threats the team is dealing with, and turns toward the moments in between. Snyder isolates each member of the league in pairs and gives us a peek into their private conversations. Every scene captures that feeling of opening up to a friend and getting something off your chest. Heroes need to be called out by their friends. Heroes need to lean on heroes. In classic Snyder fashion, issue #9 slices through the darkness of the totality, and even some real world anxieties.
Justice League isn’t just using the characters, it’s building them. Issue #9 of Justice League is an intermission; a breather before what comes next. Because of that, it’s perfect for new readers to hop on board. There are mentions of the overbearing evil and references to past events, sure, but none of that detracts from the immediate moment. This issue could stand totally on its own and still be a sophisticated point of character development for each league member. Snyder’s plots combine the nostalgically over the top stakes of superhero comics with in depth and emotional character arcs.
Jimenez is back on art after Mikel Janin hopped in for issue 8. Not only is his style definitively superhero, but his layouts are totally inventive. A solid chunk of the issue is appropriately straightforward, made into about three panels to show off environments. When a scene calls for it though, Jimenez breaks a page down into lots of dynamic panels. He layers over a feature image to detail an area, then sharpens borders in quick action scenes. Whatever the plot calls for, Jimenez knows exactly how to enhance it.
Tom Napolitano navigates many of those scenes with his lettering. There’s a lot of off panel dialogue in the issue that Napolitano handles with ease. The placement of each dialogue line accents the panel’s contents and begs readers to consider the words and text together.
Alejandro Sanchez, meanwhile brings every texture to life, especially when it comes to Hawkgirl. She gets the most attention in the last third or so of the issue. That’s where Sanchez shows his chops best; the light reflected from her wings and helmet is contrasted by the fabric parts of her costume. It comes together with Jimenez’ lines seamlessly every time.
Justice League #9 continues to show the best a superhero comic can be. When it comes to story, Snyder takes the most indulgent parts of caped crusader books and combines it with touching character work. Jimenez’ unique figures are stylized, yet respectful of their muscle-bound origins. With Sanchez and Napolitano rounding out the team, it’s difficult not to love this book. Every inch of Justice League #9 is like rediscovering one of your childhood bedtime stories, only to find that it’s better than you could have ever remembered it.